Millennium Post

Under Western slowdown cloud, Board of Trade to meet today

The high-level board of trade (BOT) chaired by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma will meet on Friday to review India's export performance in the wake of uncertain economic conditions in western markets.

The meeting, which would have representation from the ministries of finance, external affairs and micro and small and medium enterprises, would suggest steps to prepare the way for the annual supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy (2009-2014), expected to be unveiled in April.

'The BoT would discuss the impact of rupee fluctuation, rising interest rates and uncertain economic conditions in western markets on the country's export.

Exports to the US and Europe account for about 30 per cent of the country's total overseas shipments.

It will also be attended by industry chambers, exporters and various export promotion councils.

During the 11 months of the 2012-13 financial year, merchandise export declined 4 per cent to $266 billion.

The decline was mainly on account of a fall in export of engineering goods, gems and jewellery, textiles and petroleum products, making up almost 80 per cent of the country's export basket.

The target of $360 billion for the current financial year is difficult to achieve and the exports would not be able to touch $300 billion.

The official said that the government's focus was to address short-term and medium-term concerns, in the wake of a ballooning current account deficit (CAD).

In 2011-12, the CAD had reached an all-time high of 4.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and is set to be higher in the current financial year.In the first half of 2012-13, the CAD was 4.4 per cent, against four per cent of GDP in the corresponding period of 2011-12.

In the annual supplement to the FTP, the government would give a thrust on penetrating the markets of Latin America, Africa, the CIS countries, the Near East, Far East and South and South-east Asia. In December 2012, the government had announced an incentive package for exporters. It introduced an incremental export incentivisation scheme and extended the two per cent interest subvention scheme till 31 March 2014.
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